Red Ladder Theatre Company

Who we are


Red Ladder is a radical theatre company with 45 years of history. The company is acknowledged as one of Britain’s leading national touring companies producing new theatre, contributing to social change and global justice.  Red Ladder is funded by Arts Council England and by Leeds City Council.

Founded in 1968 in London, the company has a colourful history rooted in the radical socialist theatre movement in Britain known as agitprop. Born into an era of riots, demonstrations and revolts, Red Ladder has grown up, kicking and screaming, into the 21st Century, where it continues to fight, to entertain, and to agitate in as equal measures as possible.

Red Ladder exists to create theatre about and around human struggle.  To do this, our work must be galvanising and stimulating; generous and life affirming ; collaborative and visionary ; fearless;  of and for many people.

We seek to redefine and reclaim notions of popular, political and radical in a theatre context, and place politics and accessibility as twin and complementary facets of a people’s theatre.  We use our unique history as a leadership resource for theatre and theatre-makers seeking contemporary forms which speak to the politics of the now.  “When the best leaders’ work is done the people shall say ‘We did it ourselves’” Lao Tzu

Meet the team

Rod Dixon
Artistic Director

Rod became Artistic Director of Red Ladder Theatre Company in 2006, following his role as associate director at the Barbican Theatre in Plymouth. He has also ran The Hub Theatre School in Cornwall and been an actor with several companies including Kneehigh Theatre. Directing credits for Red Ladder include Where’s Vietnam?, Forgotten Things, Riot, Rebellion & Bloody Insurrection, Ugly, Sex & Docks & Rock ‘N’ Roll, Big Society! and Promised Land. Rod is both a life-long Liverpool supporter and a believer in Proudhon’s principles of anarchy – the two might be connected.

Chris Lloyd

A Red Ladder employee of six years, Chris is still in constant awe of the talent he has to work with at the company. Lloydy stumbled across Red Ladder after stints at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Rosehill Theatre in Cumbria, three years in the south of Spain and ten years in London at Theatre Royal Stratford East and The Shaw Theatre in Euston.

Never happier than when sitting in his parlour counting his pennies Chris occasionally emerges, blinking, into the theatrical spotlight for opening nights, launches, free lunches and end of tour thrashes.


Chris O’Connor
Audience Development Officer

Though born in Leeds Chris spent his formative years, like Red Ladder, in London before moving back to the delights of West Yorkshire. A graduate of the University of Leeds, in Philosophy and English, Chris went on to do an MA in Writing for Performance and Publication before wandering out into the real world not really knowing what to do. An aspiring writer Chris is currently on Street Voices 5, with Freedom Studios, and has had previously had a short play put on at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith after winning a brief on IdeasTap.


Joanna Jowett
Press, PR and Marketing Manager

Joanna fell in love with Red Ladder while working in the Marketing department at West Yorkshire Playhouse. Her first project for Red Ladder was the massive co-production of ‘The Damned United’ – a big project to roll up the sleeves and get busy on! After this rip-roaring success. Jo then coordinated all the press and PR for ‘Leeds Lads’ – another high profile production.


Jenny Sullivan
Associate Producer

Jenny joined Red Ladder to help us with big projects such as our Northern Social Circuit – a two year programme of touring non-theatre venues such as pubs, Rugby League sports socials and working men’s clubs. Thanks to Jenny we were successful in a bid to Arts Council England for a Strategic Touring Fund to support this important phase of our work.





Tessa Gordziejko, Creative Director Imove Arts, Executive Director Unlimited Theatre

Craig Jefferies, CEO  Albion Electrical Wholesalers

Jo Westerman, LOGIK and Staff Centre Manager, University of Leeds

Martyn Potter, HR Consultant, PKF (UK)

Emma McDowell, Marketing and Programmer Harrogate Theatre

Ben Rothera, Freelance Producer

Dan Bye, Independent Theatre Maker and Writer

Red Ladder is always seeking new members who are interested in the future activity of the company, if you would like to express an interest please email:

Following a 100% cut from Arts Council England effective from 1 April 2015, we're fighting for our lives. To join the Save Red Ladder cause please visit our Local Giving Page now.